Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
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The Controversial Blasphemy Law Verdict

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quick blogging. The controversial blasphemy law verdict by the Indonesian Constitutional Court has been published. You can download it here.

What do you think about the verdict?

Have your say.


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MK: The Blasphemy Law is Here to Stay

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's been decided a few hours ago. The Constitutional Court ruled with one concurring opinion (Harjono) and one dissenting opinion (Maria) that the blasphemy law is here to stay. I do not think that this ruling with outlaw the possibility to submit another judicial review in the future. In the mean time, it might be worth to have a look at the Court's Decision (its not yet online -- will provide a link when it is) and Justice Maria's Dissenting Opinion.

See my recent working paper on the constitutionality of the Indonesian Blasphemy Law at the SSRN.

See related news at Detik (in Bahasa).

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Religious Freedom in Indonesia Before and after Constitutional Amendments

Saturday, April 10, 2010

After asking permission to the editor, I decided to revise my paper, previously published in a book by Brainbow Press.  The working paper version is available in the SSRN. Abstract is provided below. Do send me email/post some comments. 
Download here, or read this SSRN page
Religious Freedom in Indonesia Before and after Constitutional Amendments

The Indonesian Constitution is very unique in terms of its relation between religion and the state. It is stated there that that the state is based “…on the belief in the One and Supreme God” but at the same time, it never explicitly mentioned the name of any established religion. Historical interpretation into the constitutional drafting process and revelation from the founding fathers on their understanding of 'God' and religion reveals that the Constitution is neutral with respect to religions and worldviews. However, the Constitution does prefer a theistic worldview over the non theist. The consequences for this is that the state may provide financial and other supports to the followers of religions (provide positive discrimination) but must not interfere with the freedom of followers of any other worldviews to profess their beliefs. Recent amendment to the Constitution reinforces this neutral stance. This would have a significant impact on the constitutionality of blasphemy laws. 
Keywords: indonesia, religion, blasphemy, human rights, constitution 
Working Paper Series

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My position on the 'Fitna' Film

Friday, April 4, 2008

Some friends and colleagues have asked my opinion on the Fitna film. For now I have no time to write a lengthy review and my stance on religious freedom has been quite clearly represented through my previous writings (see here, here and here).

So let me just state my position briefly:

We must protest but we cannot restrict.

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More on blasphemy law

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I wrote an article on how the law on blasphemy and the abuse of religion could contravene the constitution. There, I conclude that the Indonesian Constitution contains no specific reference to any religions and that Article 29(2) of the constitution was meant to protect not only major religions but also all beliefs. Any attempt to prohibit certain religious interpretation such as done through Articles 1 and 3 of Presidential Enactment number 1/PNPS/1965 on the Prevention of Blasphemy and Abuse of Religions would therefore infringe the constitution.

In another recent article, I explained that Article 4 of Presidential Enactment 1/PNPS/1965 which contained a provision of 5 years of imprisonment for those “who deliberately, in public, which in essence sparked hostility, insulting or abusive views towards religions with the purpose of preventing others from adhering to any religion based on God” could be in conflict with human rights (HR) norms.

Blasphemy laws could be permitted by HR only when it is intended to prevent harm to others. I wrote:
Thus, a Human Rights-compliant blasphemy law should contain very restrictive conditions, namely that it is applicable only when it is “…necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others”. And, not only that the restriction must be “necessary” in order to prevent harm, it must also be “proportional” to the goal.

The Presidential Enactment (vis a vis Article 156a of the Criminal Code) has other purpose than preventing harm. Thus, it may be inconsistent with international human rights instrument.

Read more here.

My other article discussing Prophet Muhammad Cartoon.

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State and Religion relationship in Indonesian Constitution

Friday, December 7, 2007

An excerpt from my newspaper article:

Unlike in theocratic states, in Indonesia, clerics may issue a verdict (fatwa) but this verdict is not legally binding.

It is important to note that the word "God" appeared many times on the Indonesian constitution. Nevertheless, unlike the UK/Greece model, Indonesian Constitution is silent with regard to recognition of a particular religion.

There is no single article in our Constitution that mentions the name of a particular religion. Article 29 stipulates "the state is based on the belief in the One and Supreme God" but does not explain further -- "God according to who?"

Moreover, although Indonesia "is based in the one and only god", the constitutional practices in the past allowed non-atheistic beliefs (as implemented by the Indonesian Communist Party and local beliefs such as kejawen) to grow.

I therefore tend to conclude the Indonesian model sits somewhere between the German and the Greece/UK model.

The Indonesian Constitution is not neutral towards religion. It is "pro-religion" in the sense that it prefers and supports a theistic worldview rather than the non-theist worldview, but is nevertheless neutral on which theistic view it prefers the most. Thus, the idea of "state-acknowledged religions" (agama yang diakui negara) actually has no constitutional basis.

A pro-religion constitution means that religious adherents may enjoy more freedom of religion in positive terms (the freedom to exercise) through state facilities compared to adherents of non/atheistic beliefs.

However, the negative freedom (the freedom not to be forced toward a particular religion or belief) of all persons remains protected. The power struggle within a particular religion is clearly not the business of the state.

The state has no constitutional authority to dictate its citizens on which version of God it shall worship. Forcing a particular religious interpretation would infringe article 29 (2) of the Constitution.

That means, if you are a moslem and works at public institution, you can wear a scarf (in Germany this could be prohibited if you work as a teacher, as it tends to influence the pupils, whereas the state has to be neutral from religion) and government offices can also be used for religious activities. However, if you are an atheist, you cannot expect the government to allow you to use their facilities to perform your ritual. You can do it somewhere else of course, at the government needs to protect that.

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Indonesian Govt and Religious Violence

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A petitioner claim that the Indonesian Government failed to supress religious violence failed on the US Court of Appeals due to the lack of evidence.

The case is an immigration-asylum case and the petitioner claim the invocation of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) for his interest. However, the CAT claimed was rejected by the appeal court.

Case available here.

(H.T. Appelate Law and Practice blog)